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The Trials of Nurse Kerr: The Anatomy of a Secret Poisoner

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Did New Zealand have a secret poisoner? In 1992, builders demolishing a Devonport home stumbled across a skeleton, triggering an investigation that sent shockwaves across the community. The remains belonged to a woman who had died in the 1930s, and whispers soon emerged of the deadly legacy of Nurse Elspeth Kerr. Now all but forgotten, a series of court trials gripped New Zealand in the early 1930s, Nurse Elspeth was formally accused of poisoning her husband, her foster daughter and an elderly resident at her Devonport nursing home, and other victims were also suspected. Bodies were exhumed, top lawyers were engaged, expert witnesses called, and the police waited with bated breath for each next revelation. The Trials of Nurse Kerr lays out the untold story of Elspeth Kerr, her victims and the twists and turns of bringing the case to justice. Applying a modern understanding of poisoning cases to the events of the time, and with his trademark meticulous research and insight, Scott Bainbridge reveals the tale of the woman who may well have been New Zealand's most prolific poisoner.